Genesis 32 Jacob Feared Esau, Jacob Wrestled with God

Jacob Feared Esau (vs 3-23)
Jacob Wrestled with God (vs 24-32)

Jacob continued on his way, and the angels of God met him.

Jacob: This is God’s host.

Jacob called the name of that place Mahanaim.

I found different meanings for Mahanaim. The most common was “angels of God” or “host of God.”

Jacob Feared Esau (vs 3-23)

In this passage, Jacob plans for his meeting with Esau, sending gifts ahead of the family to appease Esau’s anger.

Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother to the land of Seir, the country of Edom.

Jacob (to the messengers): You shall say this to my lord Esau; Your servant Jacob says, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now: And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and women servants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in your sight.

The messengers returned to Jacob.

The messengers (to Jacob): We came to your brother Esau, and he comes to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.

Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands.

Jacob: If Esau comes to the one company and kills them all, then the other company which is left shall escape.

Jacob prayed.

Jacob: O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, Return to your country, and to your kindred, and I will deal well with you, I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which you have shown to me, your servant. When I passed over this Jordan, I had only a staff, and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear that he will come and kill me and the mothers with the children. You have said, I will surely do good to you, and make your seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

Jacob lodged there that same night and took of that which came to his hand as a present for Esau his brother.

Jacob’s gift to Esau:

  • two hundred she goats
  • twenty he goats
  • two hundred ewes
  • twenty rams
  • thirty milch camels with their colts (A milch camel is a camel which is producing milk.)
  • forty cows
  • ten bulls
  • twenty she asses and ten foals

Jacob delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves.

Jacob (to his servants): Pass over before me and put a space between each drove of animals.

Jacob (the servant accompanying the front drove): When Esau my brother meets you, and asks you, saying, Whose are you? and Where are you going? And Whose are these animals before you? Then you shall say, They belong to your servant Jacob; it is a present sent to my lord Esau, and your servant Jacob is behind us.

And he commanded the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves to speak in this manner.

Jacob (to each servant that accompanied each drove): In this manner you shall speak to Esau, when you find him. And say also, Your servant Jacob is behind us.

Jacob: I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face, and perhaps he will accept of me.

So went the present over before him: and he himself lodged that night in the company. And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two women-servants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.

He sent them all over the brook, and sent over all that he had. And Jacob was left alone.

Jacob Wrestled with God (vs 24-32)

There Jacob wrestled with a man with until the breaking of the day.

The Bible calls this person a man, but reveals that he is God in verse 31.

When the man saw that he did not prevailed against Jacob, he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with the man.

The man: Let me go, for the day breaks.

Jacob: I will not let you go, unless you bless me.

The man: What is your name?

Jacob: Jacob.

The man: Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for as a prince you have power with God and with men, and have prevailed.

Jacob: Tell me, I pray, your name.

The man: Why is it that you ask after my name?

And he blessed Jacob there.

Jacob called the name of the place Peniel.

Jacob: For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

As Jacob passed over Penuel, the sun rose and he limped on his injured thigh.

To this day, the children of Israel do not eat of the sinew on the hollow of the thigh, because God touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew that shrank.


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